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Old 02-05-2014, 10:22 AM   #1
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rangefinders and anchoring

Do any of the members use a rangefinder when anchored? Seems it would be useful to check for anchor drag your boat or maybe more importantly someone elses boat dragging down on yours.
Up to 500 + yard seems a good distance. They are available at hunting or golf shops, kind of expensive, about $150.00 and up.

BushnellŪ Sport 550 Rangefinder : Cabela's
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:36 AM   #2
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Radar does this job
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:48 AM   #3
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Better yet, gps/plotter. Most can be set to beep if boat moves more than a specified amount.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:51 AM   #4
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For single handed anchoring I think one may be handy...when I'm out on the bow looking around to see the best drop spot and I want a very accurate quick check of what the difference between 75 feet and 100 of chain might be..I would think a rangefinder handy...but certainly not necessary.
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:18 AM   #5
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I've used them from a small boat. On water they don't really work past 60 metres / 200 feet. Below that they can be a bit temperamental due to boat motion and lack of hard, flat, reflective targets.

The laser doesn't like broken rocks, seaweed, or barnacles. Any boat motion and it will not lock on and return a distance. Radar/dGPS is far more reliable.

If you boat in an area with a lot of built structures on the beach you might get better results.
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Old 02-05-2014, 01:46 PM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. S. I suppose you could bring your clubs and hit a few balls off your aft trunk.
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Old 02-05-2014, 01:52 PM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. S. I suppose you could bring your clubs and hit a few balls off your aft trunk.
Never thought of bouncing balls off the shore or other boats in an anchorage to determine range by club...sounds like fun...

It gives a whole new meaning to "anchor ball"..
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:15 PM   #8
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I gave up golf about 10 years ago, but maybe one of my sons will have a range finder can borrow next time I go out.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:31 PM   #9
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Greetings,
Don't some binoculars have range finders built in? Some sort of scale in the field of view. Barska 7x50 Deep Sea Binoculars | www.kotulas.com | Free Shipping
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:51 PM   #10
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I have used the chart plotter for determining distance to shore or size of an anchorage. I do this on Navamatics also while choosing anchorages ahead. Would rather do that than arrive and see the "anchorage" you had selected is actually a hole in the wall. Frequently I'll stay on the same scale and move to an anchorage on the plotter that I'm familiar w to get a relative size. If it's just about dark when you get to your chosen anchorage and find it's unsuitable you may have to make do a bit out of the usual envelope of safety. Halving the right anchor for a small anchorage is a big help.

One could practice throwing rocks and keeping a few on board for range finding.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:57 PM   #11
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Before I drop the anchor I figure out if my swing will be a factor by eyeball. I drop an anchor watch on my backup laptop running PolarView, but absolutely nothing beats the peace of mind when using the free phone app Drag Queen. Start it up, tell it to set the location, set your alarm distance and leave it running. It used to run the battery down because it uses location services constantly, but something changed because now I run it 10 hours without plugging in the phone. It's probably heresy to admit this, but the past 3 nights we anchored out I never got up to check the laptop... I just looked at my phone and saw we were within 50 feet of the anchor and went back to sleep.

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Old 02-05-2014, 04:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Never thought of bouncing balls off the shore or other boats in an anchorage to determine range by club...sounds like fun...

It gives a whole new meaning to "anchor ball"..
Ha! That was how towboaters found their way around the Fraser River in the fog before Radar became common - a bucket of rocks and a deck hand on the bow.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:12 PM   #13
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I think I am in the minority but yes, I have a laser rangefinder at the helm. I try to get range to 2-3 objects - Front, Right, Left and I note it in the daily helm log. This has been very helpful when I have wanted to shutdown the nav systems. It also is a great reference when we go back to the anchorage to get to the same spot approximately.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:21 PM   #14
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I have a rangefinder on the boat. I'm not sure why I bought it but I've had it for a long time. I've never thought of using it for anchoring or an anchor drag indication (I have a chart plotter for that) but I have used it to make sure I'm the required distance from a military ship or other restricted place.

If I didn't have it, I don't think I would be in a rush to go out and buy one.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:02 PM   #15
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I have one on board and use it to verify my visual guess at distance. It's kind of like hunting practice. I have used it on rare occasions to check distance to other boats and shore since it takes so long for the radar to be ready to use.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:02 PM   #16
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Dang. I feel so inadequate. I use a Plastimo iris 50 compass and shoot a couple of bearings. I have some Fujinon binoculars with a compass that I've used as well. Never thought of using a range finder. Cool idea.

Yes. I do have GPS anchor dragging APS and software, but never leave them on overnight.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:55 PM   #17
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Drag Queen is not killing your battery because you have not set the alarm!
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:52 AM   #18
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Drag Queen is not killing your battery because you have not set the alarm!
Yeah. I've got drag queen.

But it still isn't the same as eyeballing a tree out of a port at 3:00 am in the morning.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:14 AM   #19
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I use Drag Queen, my plotter and before anchoring if I am near land take a few bearings off my radar.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:44 AM   #20
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We usually set a stern anchor , with a small ball, so minor boat movement is easy to spot.
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